For Immediate Release
July 12, 2021
Ottawa, ONT – The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (the “IBA”) congratulates Ningiukadluk Mary Simon, the first Inuk and first Indigenous person named Governor General of Canada. Known as a skilled diplomat and strong advocate of Inuit rights, Ms. Simon’s recent appointment as Governor General-designate is historic, well-deserved, and a milestone in Canada’s journey towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Born and raised along the coast of the Ungava Bay in the village of Kuujjuaq, Mary J. Simon now continues a long and distinguished career of public service and advocacy for Indigenous rights. Among other impressive honours and distinctions, she has been inducted into the International Women’s Hall of Fame, awarded the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, holds eleven honourary doctorates from Canadian Universities, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
As the former president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and a Canadian Ambassador for nearly fifteen years, Governor General-designate Simon appears poised to bring a much-needed Indigenous perspective and wealth of experience to the Governor General’s office during this time of collective mourning. As a key player in the negotiations surrounding the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords, the IBA also recognizes Ms. Simon for her depth of constitutional understanding and knowledge of the issues currently facing Indigenous peoples throughout Canada.
It is important for Indigenous peoples to see themselves represented at all levels of government and the judiciary—not only to inspire hope and change within Indigenous communities, but also to foster a greater understanding of the Indigenous laws, legal traditions, languages, and cultures that must be recognized and respected to achieve meaningful justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
As an organization dedicated to the revitalization, respect, and recognizance of Indigenous laws, the IBA extends our congratulations to Ningiukadluk Mary Simon on this historic occasion. In accordance with her wishes, we hope that this well-deserved appointment represents genuine, collective progress towards building a more inclusive, just, and equitable society.
The IBA is comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing & non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling students, and law students (graduate & post-graduate). Our mandate is to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples. We continue our commitment to collective healing and implementing the TRC’s Calls to Action. For more information, please visit www.indigenousbar.ca.